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Is the United Kingdom Parliament Still Sovereign?

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Summary:

  • Parliamentary sovereignty means UK courts have no power to overturn legislation, unlike the U.S.’s judicial review.
  • This principle is at odds with the EU’s system.
  • The Factortame case forced the reconciliation of the EU and UK system.

This article is by David Schmidt, a 2L from Chicago-Kent who is currently attending law school in London.

A core principle of the United Kingdom’s (UK) uncodified constitution is the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.  The authority on this principle is law professor A.V. Dicey in his 1885 treatise, An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, where he writes that the UK parliament has “the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognized by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.”[1] Thus, parliamentary sovereignty means that the courts of the UK have no power to overturn legislation, in stark contrast to the United States’ principle of judicial review.

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